Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting Started

On the heels of yesterday's talk of inspiration and writing exercises, comes another thought: getting started.

I don't know how many times I have sat at the computer, looking at the word processor and not lifting a finger to type. I've set aside this time specifically to write and have been itching to do so all day, yet now that my butt is parked in front of the keyboard, I can't seem to get started. I think about the story in question, where it has been, where it is going, things I'd like to see appear and lots of other facets, but I cannot seem to actually start typing. I'll surf the net, checking out various sites. I'll post comments at blogs or forums. I'll read reviews for books, films and games. I'll research various things that popped into my head over the course of the day. In short, I will do anything and everything except write. It's not that I have writer's block, but more a case of not being able to get started. I know what I want to write. I just can't get going!

I've found that 9 times out of 10, once I do get started, the words start flowing like a herd of diarrhetic camels (OK, maybe that was a bad analogy) and I must often force myself to stop before my writing gets too crappy. For some reason, that first word is the hardest to get out.

8 comments:

Josh Reynolds said...

Yep. Same problem here, sometimes. I can open a story all right, but all too often I write myself into a corner I can't get out of.
It's why I always leave a 'ragged edge' these days and stop in the middle of a sentence.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I have to get everything just so and then I force myself to do it. I actually sit myself in the chair, close my eyes and let my fingers do what they will. Then I open my eyes, erase my mistakes and write what I was supposed to type. You are correct, once I get started it is no problem.

Aaron Polson said...

The "ragged edge" is a great plan, and I've been doing that lately too.

Once I force out the first 50-100 words, I'm flowing pretty well.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Sometimes I have a perfect first line, sometimes it takes me hours to grasp hold of it. I really need to start using the ragged edge trick.

K.C. Shaw said...

That's what I'm doing right now--revving myself up to write (or, if you look at it differently, avoiding starting). I actually want to write--I'm at a fairly easy point in my revisions--but I just can't quite get started.

I have found that rereading the last page or two of what I wrote last time usually helps me get started. There's always something I want to change, and as soon as I'm actually typing I can just keep going.

Off to dope the camels with X-Lax.

Natalie L. Sin said...

The first paragraph is where I muck it up. Usually I have to go back and rearrange things : P

Danielle Ferries said...

Procrastination is an evil little elf. I have the same problem - its hard to get started but once you do its all good.

BT said...

Kill the ELF. Bloody thing flits around every writers house and causes havoc.

For short stories, I must knock out the first draft in a single sitting - and as time is so short, hence fewer and fewer shorts - is that as confusing to read as it was to write? Once the first draft is done, then coming back to revise is simply forcing myself.

For longer works, I must: open my outline so I know where I'm going, & reread the last chapter so I know where I've been. Once my current position has been nailed down, I begin. Once I begin, I ignore all Internet and email distractions. I stick my headphones on and listen to classical music.

If I don't open my outline and previous chapter, that's when I get distracted and write comments in blogs and...oh shit...